Good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy smile. Keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque is the key to lowering your risk of common dental issues, including cavities and gum disease. St. Peters, MO, dentist Dr. Melissa Smith shares a few oral hygiene tips that will help you protect your teeth.
Longer is better when it comes to brushing
A quick swipe of your teeth with the toothbrush will help your breath smell better, but it may not reduce your tooth decay risk. If you don't brush every surface of your teeth, plaque, the sticky coating responsible for cavities, will multiply. Your St. Peters, MO dentist says that brushing your teeth for two minutes will help you ensure that you've removed every speck of plaque when you brush in the morning and evening.
Children need oral hygiene supervision longer than you may think
Even if your kids know how to brush their teeth, they may not possess the manual dexterity or the desire to thoroughly clean their teeth until they're around 7. When you supervise their twice-daily brushing sessions, you can ensure that they've brushed long enough and help them clean hard-to-reach places. Child-sized toothbrushes make brushing more comfortable.
Don't automatically reach for your toothbrush after you eat
Brushing after you eat is normally a good idea, as long as you haven't had foods or beverages that contain acids, such as soda, wine, sour candy or oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits. Brushing immediately after consuming an acidic food or beverage will spread the acid over your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth erosion. Rinse your mouth with water, then wait a half-hour before you brush to minimize the effects of acids on your teeth.
Be a flosser
You may be a consistent brusher, but do you floss daily? If you don't, you may be more likely to develop cavities between teeth. Flossing not only removes plaque between teeth, but also keeps your breath fresher by removing trapped food debris. Toothpicks aren't a good alternative to floss. The picks may be too thick to fit between tightly spaced teeth and may damage your enamel or gums.
Brushing, flossing and regular dental examinations help you protect your smile. If it's time for your next checkup, call St. Peters, MO, dentist Dr. Melissa Smith at (636) 447-6060 to schedule an appointment.
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